Anti-littering statement: Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon
After a very successful 2015 Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon three weeks ago, we were distressed to see a photograph, captured by photographer Rob Tarr, of some plastic sachets littering a stormwater culvert situated along Ou Kaapse Weg (direction Fish Hoek).
We take our responsibility of cleaning the route seriously, and have an extensive clean-up approach in place:
- More than 500 litter bins are situated along the route, were runners can dispose of their sachets.
- Our cleaning crew clear the start area in Main Road, Newlands, as soon as the last runner leaves the start line.
- The teams working at each of our 33 refreshment stations keep their designated areas clean during the race, and perform a final clean-up once the last runner has come past.
- The appointed Waste Plan crew, as well as the Environmental Officer and representatives from Plastics SA walk and drive along the Half and Ultra routes after the event to physically clear away any stray sachets and litter that may have been blown along and off the course.
- The event organisers head out to do a final check of both routes.
- The City of Cape Town repeats this process over the next few days to perform their own checks.
In addition to our clean-up plan, we aim to recycle 90% of all event waste, making the Two Oceans Marathon one of the events of the Western Cape with the highest recycling rate. These efforts have earned us the honour of being an official Western Cape Government 110% Green Flagship Event (https://www.westerncape.gov.za/110green) for our commitment to making the Western Cape the Green Economic hub of Africa.
But, what about the sachets?
When it comes to providing plastic sachets on the Half and Ultra Marathon, we adhere to the Western Province Athletics Domestic Rules (WPA Domestic Rule 18.1.1 / IAAF 240 / ASA 21) with regards to athlete hydration, which stipulates that we need to provide at least three water sachets per athlete per water station. (We do not provide any water sachets on the Old Mutual Two Oceans Trail Runs.)
Our course runs along an environmentally sensitive area, and in our efforts to further transform the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon into a greener event, we tested the use of biodegradable cups on the Chapman’s Peak route in 2014, and had planned to introduce designated litter throw zones on Chapman’s Peak Drive for 2015.
At present, we are investigating practical solutions around eco-friendly hydration options at our race and are currently working on more stringent rules around littering, as well as a more aggressive anti-littering educational campaign for our future events.
That being said, we also rely on the cooperation of our participants to do their bit and not litter on the route, and encourage our runners to stash their trash.
While we continue to find ways to make our event greener, we look forward to seeing runners taking responsibility and reconsider how they dispose of their sachets at upcoming events.